The main opposition leader has hinted that Turkey’s top soldier and chief presidential advisor threatened former President Abdullah Gül not to run for presidency and has called on them to make a clear statement about the alleged meeting in the course of key parliamentary and presidential elections.
“It is an attempt at military tutelage,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said in a parliamentary group meeting on Thursday.
Kılıçdaroğlu referred to a visit by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor İbrahim Kalın to Abdullah Gül on April 24. The visit has not been denied by any of the three figures and no explanation has been made either.
Gül, whose name has been frequently mentioned as the joint candidate of the oppositional parties, stated on April 28 that he will not run for presidency in the absence of a compromise among the opposition wing on his nomination.
The CHP leader said reports have indicated Akar and Kalın were in civilian clothes during their visit, and also that the two names had convinced Gül not to run for elections.
“If it was an official visit, why were you in your civilian clothes? If it was not official, why it was a secret meeting?” he asked.
Stating that none of the parties has made a clear statement on the allegations, Kılıçdaroğlu called for “an explanation” from those who were involved.
Kılıçdaroğlu likened the two high-level officials’ visit to Gül to the Feb. 28 process that forced the democratically elected government to resign as a result of military pressure. He also accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of imposing his own tutelage on politics by using his influence on the army.
“Why has the chief of general staff allowed himself to be used to end democracy or to shadow it? If you are looking for a way to end democracy at gunpoint, we are ready to shield ourselves” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu recalled the failed coup by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) in July 2016 and how he had urged Erdoğan not to politicize the military.
“Will you be able to strengthen democracy with the help of the military? I have already said: Do not politicize the barracks, do not politicize courthouses and do not politicize mosques” he said.